On Thursday, February 18, 2021, a calf was found dead on Titzanim beach in Israel. The autopsy of the corpse revealed death from oil poisoning. The quantities found inside the cetacean were very important. This death is the result of what is shaping up to be the biggest oil spill that Israel has known in its history. For reasons that still remain to be elucidated, tons of oil spilled into the Mediterranean over approximately 170 kilometers along the beaches to the coasts of southern Lebanon. Estimates put forward the figure of 40% of the country's coastline that would be contaminated by fuel oil.
The Israeli newspaper talks about "the worst ecological disaster in the country". All marine fauna is now affected and if it is still too early to estimate the damage, it is likely that it will be very serious. Those in charge of Israel's nature and parks are especially concerned about the shallow-water rocks at the bottom of coastal cliffs, which provide habitat for many animals.
The next day, thousands of volunteers mobilized with makeshift resources to begin cleaning up the beaches, quickly joined by members of the Israeli army. But the cleanup could take months.
The Israeli authorities are still looking for the offending vessel. With the help of satellite images from the European Maritime Safety Agency showing oil slicks 50 km off the coast, they have, for the moment, identified 10 ships present that day and likely to have caused this disaster. This is argued by Gila Gamliel, the Israeli Minister of Environmental Protection. However, suspicion would fall on the Greek oil tanker "Minerva Helen". Accusations immediately denied by the company that owns this ship and which is already involved in a previous incident off Copenhagen in 2018.
At this stage of the investigation, the degassing thesis is not retained. Rather, it could be a serious damage. This is the opinion of the NGO Robin des Bois which declares on this subject: "It does not seem that we can speak of degassing but of serious damage, namely the crack of an oil tank. propulsion of a cargo ship, not necessarily an oil tanker or one of the tanks of a tanker dedicated to the transport of hydrocarbons ” .
Either way, intentional or accidental, this ecological disaster will come at a huge cost; for the Israeli government, on the one hand, which has just released 11.5 million euros, and for nature, on the other hand, already heavily soiled by plastic, which will take many years to recover.